BFNL Ron Best Memorial Preview


Clubs honour legendary Ron Best

THE Ron Best Memorial Shield is up for grabs as Golden Square tackles Sandhurst in Saturday’s match to complete the split sixth round of senior footy in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL season.

Two of the competition’s greatest rivals meet again at Fur Life Oval in Wade Street.

Sandhurst will be eyeing a hat-trick of Ron Best Memorial Shield victories.

In a brilliant 270-game career, Best kicked 1624 goals in stints with Golden Square, Sandhurst and Northern United.

He kicked 14.9 in his first senior match for Golden Square in 1969.

Best later crossed to Sandhurst and was captain-coach of the ’73 premiership team.

He also starred in the Dragons’ run to grand final glory in ’77.

By ’79 he had returned to the kennel and played in a premiership with the Bulldogs.

After a successful move north to Boort, Best was back in the Bendigo FNL in ’84 and starred in the first of Northern United’s four grand final victories in a row.

A legend in the Bendigo FNL Hall of Fame, Best earned the leading goalkicking award on 10 occasions and booted 10 goals or more in 48 matches.

There have been many outstanding forwards throughout the Bendigo FNL’s history, but it’s Ron Best who was better than all the rest.

As part of the Ron Best Memorial Shield day, Northern United will hold a past players and supporters function in the Golden Square cricket rooms from noon.

On the footy field it will be the Bulldogs striving to end Sandhurst’s unbeaten streak.

Most recent meeting between these clubs was last September’s grand final which Golden Square won by a point.

There have been plenty of changes at the kennel since then.

Brad Eaton is now senior coach

Nine players from the ’23 premiership team will be in action.

They are Jayden and Harrison Burke, Jon Coe, Hugh Freckleton, Brodie James, Ricky Monti, Jack Stewart, Tom Strauch and Jack Threlfall.

Another premiership winner, Zack Shelton is on the sidelines as he starts a seven-game ban for rough conduct against Gisborne defender Jack Reaper.

The Bulldogs were forced to make another change as young ruckman Rory McCrann-Peters starts a four-match suspension for rough conduct.

Inclusions for the blue and gold include ruckman Tanner Rayner, Drew Barrett and Seb Pellegrino.

Sandhurst has more than a dozen players who were in last year’s grand final to play in this contest.

Among them are on-ballers James Coghlan and Noah Walsh, half-forwards Nick Stagg, Lachlan Wright and Joel Wharton; and Cobi Maxted and Zach Pallpratt in the pockets.

There’s also co-coach Bryce Curnow, Caleb Connick, Liam Ireland, Jake McLean, Darcy Mills, Isaac Ruff, Cooper Smith, Alex Wharton and Matt Wilkinson who played on that one day in September.

In attack, Fergus Greene starts the round in second place in the race for the Ron Best Medal.

Greene moved to 26 after a 10-goal haul against South Bendigo in the previous round.

Another key player in the charge by a Sandhurst team jointly coached by Ash Connick, non-playing, is Lachlan Tardrew who is a full-time player with the Dragons after a successful stint in the VFL with Collingwood.

Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:

Strathfieldsaye 164 per cent, 20 points; Sandhurst 529 per cent, 16 points; Gisborne 288, 16; Eaglehawk 120, 12; Golden Square 98, 8; South Bendigo 82, 8; Kangaroo Flat 59, 8; Castlemaine 87, 4; Maryborough 17, 0.

Leaders in the goalkicking race for the Ron Best Medal:

32 Brock Harvey, South Bendigo.

26 Fergus Greene, Sandhurst.

23 Pat McKenna, Gisborne.

20 Harry Luxmoore, Gisborne.

18 Michael Hartley, Castlemaine.

18 James Schischka, Strathfieldsaye.

17 Lachlan Wright, Sandhurst.

16 Steven Stroobants, South Bendigo.

12 Malik Gordon, Strathfieldsaye.

11 Noah Walsh, Sandhurst.

11 Jonty Neaves, Eaglehawk.

10 Zac Denahy, Gisborne.

9 Justin Bateson, Kangaroo Flat.

9 Brad Bernacki, Gisborne.

9 Jayden Burke, Golden Square.

9 Bailey Henderson, Castlemaine.

9 Darcy Richards, Eaglehawk.

9 Jack Stewart, Golden Square.

9 Lachlan Tardrew, Sandhurst.

8 Cobi Maxted, Sandhurst.

8 Abe Sheahan, Strathfieldsaye.

8 Ben Thompson, Eaglehawk.

8 Joel Wharton, Sandhurst.

8 Harry Whitty, Kangaroo Flat.

7 Sam Graham, Gisborne.

7 Matt Merrett, Gisborne.

7 Fraser Russell, Maryborough.